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Breast feeding mother and child

A Swedish researcher has isolated a molecule from breast milk, with malignant cells fighting properties.

Professor Catharina  Svanborg, a professor of  Immunology at Lund university Sweden, has found a compound with cancer fighting properties call  Human Alpha-Lactalbumin (HAMLET), which is currently undergoing its first trial in man.

Professor Svanborg, isolated HAMLET, while looking for natural antibacterial molecule from body fluids. The researchers dropped some lung cancer cell into a test tube containing human milk and observed that the tumor cells died, the experiment was repeated and the result was found to be the same.

The milk used for the experiment was not raw human milk, rather factions of molecular protection mix for babies were used, the factions either contained antibiotics, lipid or sugar, and each faction yielded its own specific result. However, it was found that one faction was lethal to the tumor cell and had to be treated to extract the HAMLET molecule.

How HAMLET Kills Cancerous Cells

HAMLET has multiple effects on tumor cell.

Cancer cells possess a more primitive membrane than normal differentiated cell, this seems to benefit HARMLET, the molecule inserts itself into the membrane and begins ion fluxes across it. Then in the nucleus it binds to the very substance that the DNA and the proteins in the nucleus make, this makes them unable to make new molecule and survive and therefore dies.

Role of HARMLE in Breast Milk

HAMLET cells are like scavenger molecules.

There can be virus infected cells in the large intestine that needs to be removed, these cells instead of developing to become more mature may begin to look like cancer cells, HAMLET cells assume the role of scavenger and begins to destroy these abnormal cell.

There is also data on breast feeding being protective for childhood lymphomas and   certain types of intestine cancers.

In-vitro Trial

A range of different cancer cell lines, (breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer etc) collectively known as carcinoma, including leukaemia and others were used, the result showed that the various types of  all the malignant cells used in the trial died the same way, a process known as ‘Apoptosis’. Specifically, three types of cancers were used for the experiment.

The first trial was on brain tumor, tumor cells were removed from human brain during surgery and put in an animal for it to develop, and then the animal was treated by local injection of the drug into its brain.

The second was colon cancer and the third was bladder cancer in mice, large tumors can develop very quickly in mice, when HAMLET or the second-generation synthetic drug was used to treat the animal, a very strong dose dependent therapeutic effect was observed.

Trial on Human

The researchers selected two Patients with superficial bladder cancer for trial on human; this variety was chosen because a previously conducted academic human study in it showed positive results.

No side effect was recorded from the investigation.


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